Dear Honourable Judge!
It is very evident that they were the ones who were insinuating Leo X to declare me as a heretic, when I was not one. I believed that they must have felt that I was a threat to them and their reputation hence they were so eager to declare me as a heretic and rebel. Even before my hearing at the Imperial Diet meeting in Worms in January 1521, I had written and published several books under my name, both in Latin and in German.
In these books, I was targeting at the fame of piety and erudition, and hoping to gain the influence of both the common people and the good will of the Princes.
I sought to explain the Scriptures, done through zeal for virtue and in accordance with the spirit of God, to remove the abuses of hypocrites, reform the habits and pursuits of the Clergy, and to direct the minds of mortals towards the love and honour of God.
As such, your honourable Sir, it could be seen that I have no inclinations or whatsoever towards a rebellion against the papacy in 1517. From my studies, I came to the conclusion that all actions have to be justified and based on the Scripture and nothing else.
However, my break with Rome came at the Diet at Worms in 1521, whereby I was accused by many for the works that I’ve done and published. I attended the Diet at Worms on 17th April 1517, on the account that I would be given protection throughout the whole process.
At Worms, Papal Nuncio Jerome Aleander accused me in the presence of Prince, Prelates, and Representatives of the Empire of disobedience, heresy, sedition, rebellion, impiety and blasphemy. These accusations, I would say, were nothing but words spoken out of jealousy, envy and out of the desire for vengeance, rather than by zeal for piety.
The reason lies in the fact that though Aleander was also a learned and knowledgeable man, like me, with knowledge of several tongues, he accomplished and managed very little through his orations. I was told to acknowledge which are the books that have been published under my name up till 1521 and if I would wish to recant any of them. The Diet ended with me dismissing the Pope’s assumed role as God’s representative on Earth, calling him as an Antichrist, for I stood firmly to my own belief in following strictly only the Scripture. I refused to recant my beliefs.
It was only with my denunciation of the Pope and the church hierarchy that made leaders of other European churches uncomfortable with me. This was when I completely broke away from the Church. Such an action undertaken by me during a time when the Church was faced with many heretics naturally led me to be labeled as a heretic. However, I state here that I am not a heretic, for I has merely followed strictly according to what had been recorded in the Scripture and I alone will follow the actions of none others except that of the Scripture.
Following this response of mine, I was condemned by the Imperial Diet and no longer protected by any laws. I must state very clearly that it was events at the Diet and the people which had caused me to have such a drastic break with the Roman Church. My main attackers were the Dominicans, one of which included John Tetzel, Prieras, Cajetan, Von Militz and Eck. All these men tried to protect their own interests and position of the Church in society. They saw me as a threat to their illicit money-making sideline and accused me of being a heretic for fear of me ruining their “business”.
I felt that they should instead be the ones to be declared as heretics for they had violated the laws of the Scripture. Hence, it is with such conviction that I write to you, hoping that you would seek the unjust sentences that have been passed to me and seek redress for me. I will be waiting earnestly towards your judgment on my case and look into this matter through and impartial point of view. Thank you for your kind attention.
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